So.. We're painting and renovating the garage, as I've mentioned. We house the reptiles in the garage, so we moved them in the house so that the paint fumes wouldn't kill them. ... We moved them in there last night.. and NG came to check on them tonight. I was in the garage, vacuuming and prepping to do primer when she came busting in. She wasn't supposed to be in there while I was vacuuming because of the dust, so I knew something was up, and the look on her face was wild panic. She was saying something over and over again but I couldn't hear her, so I turned off the shopvac so I could hear her.
And I wish to god I'd never heard those words.
Copper is a platinum female, only a few months old, that we'd bought for a future breeding project. Huge money spent on her, and lots of emotional value. I hugged her and tried to console her, because Copper was her snake, and then it occurred to us both... the other snakes. We tore into the house as fast as possible and began moving the snakes to the bathroom to see the damage. I wasn't crying at this point, I was just panicked.
I was screaming, though, and so was NG. "The snakes, the snakes! Oh god, the snakes!" Mom woke up and came to check as we're pulling out snake bags and my heart stopped when NG went "Oh god, no, god please no." I looked in the bathroom to see the snake bag she had just dumped out, and promptly began sobbing and screaming.
My beautiful Pythia, my first snake, the one NG had given to me for Christmas last year (December 29th to be precise), the snake who was my only real reptile pet and my favorite pet period.. Was lying there dead. I couldn't take it. I just about had a nervous break down. We've spent months nursing her back to health, because we bought her from a petstore and she probably came from a pet mill, so she had all these diseases and health concerns. I spent hours crying over her and hundreds trying to save her each time she had an episode, and NG and everyone helped out so much, and after all that, with one careless mistake, we had killed my baby girl.
As much as I hurt, I knew we had to check the other snakes. We had eleven ball pythons and a blue tongue skink to check, including the two we'd already counted dead. My heart stopped every time we grabbed a bag and checked for them. At the end, we'd counted the three baby snakes dead; Pythia, Copper and NG's albino Happy.
We were both sobbing hysterically, sitting there in the mess of these snakes. Mom and gramma were hugging us and trying to calm us down, and NG insisted on checking all the baby's bodies, to try and figure out exactly what happened. We ruled on it being overheating (I am horrified to think of what they went through because I was a fucking retard) and as we were checking Happy's body, he began to move. He was alive, but just barely. We tearfully called our reptile vet's emergency line and talked to the on call doctor, who told us what to do and said that Happy had a good chance of making it, we'd gotten to him in time.
And we'd failed to get to the other two in time. I failed my baby girl. I failed Pythia.
I'm still on the edge of tears and this was four hours ago. I threw myself into finishing up the vacuuming and the priming of the garage, so we can paint the damn thing tonight and get the reptiles back in the regular enclosures as fast as fucking possible. I can barely sit straight, I feel terribly dizzy, my throat and my eyes burn and my muscles all ache from the nonstop priming of the walls and the ceiling, but it doesn't even begin to compare to the utter worthlessness I feel and the ripping void inside of me at the moment.
I know some people may count an animal, especially a snake, out as just a creature and nothing to get emotional over, especially one who had health issues to begin with, but shut the fuck up. Pythia was damn near my everything. She was my first snake. I remember picking her out of the others because they balled up and she curled around my wrist. I remember carrying her around for the first twenty four hours in my sleeve through all the stores on Broadway and listening to the crazy psychic lady tell me what she was thinking. I remember naming her and swearing she was a girl, then taking her to the vet and confirming she was a girl. I remember all the visits to the vet with tears pouring down my cheeks and my heart breaking as she nearly died in my hands because of defects beyond anyone's control. To someone, she was probably just a pet, but to me, god. To me, she was my dear sweet Pythia. Most beautiful snake I'll ever see and the most tragically wonderful pet I'll ever have. I won't get another ball python pet for a while, breeders are one thing.. but no pet snake will ever be as close or as dear to me as her. She had personality, she had spunk, she had so many things and I fucking killed her.
I won't be online or around at all for several days, and art may not happen for a month at the minimum. I'm going to be busting my ass off in that garage, and busying myself at work and at home. I want to be so busy I can't even think about the terrible crime I've committed and the wonderful memories I've just killed with a bout of thoughtlessness. And worse.. It hurts even more to think we had just conquered most of her sicknesses, that she was getting big and healthy and living right. And I just killed her.